by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Princeton University Whig-Cliosophic Society, the college’s premier debate society and the oldest debating union in the United States, recently disinvited conservative law professor Amy Wax one day before she was scheduled to speak. …
… The abrupt cancellation of Wax’s speech was more than just rude. It is a betrayal of the longstanding tradition for America’s elite universities to host reasoned debate at the highest level of controversy.
The Whig-Clio Society was founded in part to air the tough debates between James Madison and Aaron Burr. Today it is run by co-presidents Lena Hu and Justin Wittekind, whose fundamental ideologies are steeped in an identity politics that would embarrass Madison and his fellow Founding Fathers.
For example, regarding an upcoming debate on abortion, Hu once wrote to another board member of the Whig-Clio Society in a private message, “As a woman on this campus and also the friend of many other women on campus I legitimately HATE THE IDEA OF A BUNCH OF CONSERVATIVE MEN DEBATING THE RIGHTS TO FEMALE BODIES.”
One would think that the leader of one of the foremost debating associations in the country would be able to grasp one of the simplest principles in intellectual discourse: that the ad hominem argument, which attempts to attack the character of the debater rather than the strength of his or her contentions, is a logical fallacy.